There is not a worse feeling than graduating from high school and feeling completely unprepared for secondary education. High schools across the county offer advanced placement courses but some have taken it a step further by offering the International Baccalaureate, IB, program.
The IB organization was established in 1967 by a group of international businessmen who traveled around the world with their families. After having no luck finding a consistent education program for their children when they traveled, they created IB.
"They created it so that their children would get the same quality of education," Camdenton Vice Principal Dr. Paula Brown said.
IB concentrates on reading, writing, liberal arts and international cultures. "It's a more in depth way of learning," Brown said.
Students get a unique perspective in the IB program by reading textbooks from all over the world.
"Students grow up reading American textbooks about America," Brown said. Camdenton classrooms and libraries are filled with books written in other countries which gives the students a different way of looking at the subject.
Even though this program was designed to give students an in-depth way of learning, there are still critics out there. Brown thinks the international aspect makes some critics leery along with a phrase in the program's mission statement.
"These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right," it states.
IB teaches students to be open minded and to think for themselves. Brown reassures any critic that the curriculum is chosen inside the school district. It is not dictated internationally. Brown chose to bring the program to Camdenton mainly to prepare the students for life after high school. "I saw students in this program that were successful in college, they persevered," she said.
IB is open to any student that wishes to take it, but Brown always warns students and parents that the IB program is not easy but does prepare them for their future.
"Most students in the program are usually straight A students. They may get their first B in this program," she said.
"It's a lot of hard work but it's worth it," Senior Diploma candidate Katey Thompson said. "It's not just about hard work, but it's preparation for life. I'm getting a global education and I think that is really important because I do live in the world and I'm gonna be out in it. I think it will give me an edge over other people who haven't had that."
Students like Thompson will graduate with an IB diploma which means they graduated with the required two years of IB classes along with the required extended essay, Theory of Knowledge course and CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) hours. Diploma students must take six IB classes per year. If a student would like to take an IB course but doesn't want to take all the classes, they do have the option of being a certificate student.
Page 2 of 2 - Senior Joshua Sharp is a certificate student who chose to take IB Theater. "For me, it has really opened up a lot of educational doors," Sharp said. "I really appreciate how IB is able to bring a world wide concept to your standard mid America education."
Through the IB curriculum, students often find that their subjects tend to overlap. "My favorite part is how your classes start to come together, history and theater in particular," Thompson said. "We learned about WWII in history and particularly you only get it from an American perspective. We had to analyze different documents from different textbooks from all over the world and we got other county's perspectives on the post-war issues. At the same time I was learning about absurdist theater which is an artistic movement that came out of that."
Many students take IB courses for the cultural experiences while others take them to be challenged. "I appreciate the more rigorous curriculum. It's more independent research where you have to find your own initiative, that kind of skill will really translate well when we go into some kind of secondary education," Senior Diploma candidate, Matthew Riga said. "It's not just helping you learn other things, it helps you find out more about yourself."
For senior Brigitta Reth, IB has played a major role in preparing her for college. "It's great college prep. It's teaching self discipline, time management and everything that is necessary for college," she said.
Most students describe the IB community as a family. The students take the same classes and are around each other almost every day for two years and tend to get very close. "I feel like we are a community," Thompson said.
"I think it is as much an intellectual experience as it is a social experience. You are surrounded by people who are like minded and open to discussion," Senior diploma candidate Brennan Tolnay said.
When colleges and universities see that IB students apply to their schools, they take notice. "The scholarships have been incredible for our IB students," Brown said.
Camdenton started their IB program in 2007. Now, There are currently 23 certificate students and 22 diploma students scheduled to graduate this year. Class of 2014 has 29 certificate students and 18 diploma students enrolled.